This April marks the 30th anniversary of US federal protection for sharks in the Atlantic Ocean. It was a long time coming, but these regulations, in combination with the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act and the 1997 ban on killing white sharks in federal water, set the stage for the conservation success story that is at the heart of Chasing Shadows. Here is an excerpt from chapter six of the book in a section we titled “A Sea Change: Protections for Sharks”:
It wasn’t until April 1993 that the Fishery Management Plan for Sharks of the Atlantic Ocean was finally implemented. The final plan regulated thirty-nine frequently caught species of Atlantic sharks and divided them into three groups: large coastal sharks, small coastal sharks, and pelagic sharks. It established a commercial permitting system, commercial quotas, and a framework for adjusting quotas. For recreational anglers, it put in place a trip limit of four sharks per vessel for large coastal sharks and pelagic sharks and a daily bag limit of five sharks per person for small coastal sharks. It also prohibited finning and the sale by recreational fishermen of sharks or shark products. While it was a long time in the making, sharks in the northwest Atlantic enjoyed widespread protections for the first time ever.
Like any federal management plan, the Fishery Management Plan for Sharks of the Atlantic Ocean that was implemented in 1993 was not perfect. Both commercial anglers and recreational anglers criticized the plan (for different reasons, of course), but it was a start.
If you’d like to read Chasing Shadows, you can preorder it now on Amazon wherever books are sold. We are also launching a Galley Giveaway next week on Goodreads if you’re interested in a chance to get an advance copy.